The New York Times political desk sucks ghastly green gator balls and actively harms democracy. But the NYT organization beyond that crap unit still occasionally produces important, high-quality journalism. A story published today about the Sandy Hook crime scene processors is an example of that. I wish everyone in this death cult-damaged country would read it. Here’s a gift link.
I learned this from reading it: When the deeply traumatized crime scene processors learned that then-AG Eric Holder would be visiting the Sandy Hook mass shooting site, they were grimly pleased that someone important and in a position to maybe make a fucking difference would have an opportunity to see what they had to see. They made sure Holder saw it all. It probably haunts him still.
And of course, nothing changed because Republicans refuse to take any action whatsoever at the federal level. The crime scene processors didn’t know that at the time. Now they do. Now we all do.
Mass shootings understandably get most of the attention paid to gun violence in this country because mass shootings are generally senseless, random acts that traumatize entire communities. We also know how to reduce them — by outlawing the battlefield weapons and equipment mass shooters use — because we’ve done it before, and other countries have done it before, and it works.
There’s a single reason we can’t take that obvious step toward sanity: the Republican Party refuses to allow us to take that step. So we know who to blame. As the circle of people who are personally traumatized by mass shootings expands, it’s conceivable that they’ll become single-issue voters, at a great cost in blood and wasted potential. I wouldn’t bet the farm on that happening, but it’s conceivable.
What’s not obvious, at least to me, is what to do about people like Andrew Lester and Kevin Monahan. Lester, age 84, is the Liberty, Missouri man who shot 16-year-old Ralph Yarl when the boy showed up at the wrong address to pick up his younger brothers. Thankfully, Yarl survived.
Monahan, age 65, is the Ft. Edward, New York man who shot 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis to death when she and some friends mistakenly turned into his driveway. Lester wounded and almost killed a young man with a handgun. Monahan senselessly murdered a young woman with a shotgun.
Here are excerpts from a NYT article about Monahan:
Adam Matthews, who lives next to Mr. Monahan and has known him for decades, said his neighbor could be aggressive and intimidating. “He was a difficult guy,” Mr. Matthews recalled, adding he was “known to have altercations with people.”
He added that Mr. Monahan was “always concerned with trespassing” and that the wide opening of his driveway resembled a road to some drivers…
In a Kansas City Star interview, Lester’s grandson Klint Ludwig cites “fear and paranoia” as the contributing factors to his grandfather’s crime, and also constant exposure to toxic conservative media:
Ludwig said he and his grandfather, who goes by the first name Dan, used to be very close.
“But in the last five or six years or so, I feel like we’ve lost touch,” he said. “I’ve gotten older and gained my own political views, and he’s become staunchly right-wing, further down the right-wing rabbit hole as far as doing the election-denying conspiracy stuff and COVID conspiracies and disinformation, fully buying into the Fox News, OAN kind of line. I feel like it’s really further radicalized him in a lot of ways.”
Ludwig said his grandfather had been immersed in “a 24-hour news cycle of fear and paranoia.”
“And then the NRA pushing the ‘stand your ground’ stuff and that you have to defend your home,” he said. “When I heard what happened, I was appalled and shocked that it transpired, but I didn’t disbelieve that it was true. The second I heard it, I was like, ‘Yeah, I could see him doing that.’”
The problem of deranged madmen armed with AR-15s and high-capacity magazines (or clips — don’t know, don’t fucking care what the proper terminology is) has an obvious solution, though implementing it is a herculean political lift. I don’t know how we solve the problem of angry, paranoid cranks who mainline poison through their TV screens.
At this point we have to go full bore gun control. Ban everything, then let the Repubs struggle to stop any of it. No more incremental stuff that gets undone in a few years.
There are so many families that have the same story about their (especially older) relatives, I’m surprised there isn’t a support group like Al-Anon for them. (Less surprised their stories are not being reported on by the mainstream media.)
I am old enough to remember news stories about a shopkeeper using a gun against thieves and the extensive debate that you could not use deadly force to protect property. It made sense then. It makes sense now. Human lives are more important than things. At that time, there were penalties for the gun owners. We need to have that debate again. My values have never changed.
My normie, look-on-the-bright-side wife has never before mentioned this topic other than to eye-roll at the gun nuts. But yesterday she had to make a decision about which of two pre-schools to enroll our son in and it gave her a panic attack because she thought, “What if I picked the wrong one and there is a shooting there?” She fully admits this to be an irrational anxiety (the choice driving an outcome), but it underscores how traumatized she is over the rising likelihood we experience this someday. It terrifies her now.
The GOP is blocking common-sense gun control. But even without the filibuster, there are no legislative majorities in favor of “ban everything.”
Easy: Ban Fox News. Yes, we have a First Amendment, but like the Second, it is not meant to be a suicide pact.
At a certain point, the wide dissemination of false, inflammatory, anti-government rhetoric becomes a serious threat to national security. And the government has a responsibility to do something about it.
Has there been any sort of look into what Bloomberg’s reported $60M for Everytown for Gun Safety has done? I know the groups are working, and heck Michigan just passed several good steps on a path towards gun safety.
But it feels like $60,000,000 has not really had much effect. Which speaks to how deeply awash US politics is in billionaire money, particularly on the right.
Some of my darker thoughts about what could change the narrative are really not good to post on the internet (and not healthy for me to have, but they come at times, though I don’t ruminate on them). I don’t own a gun and – mostly – don’t think I ever will.
I’ve shared my family’s Fox News detoxification story here before, but I’ll share it again. My mom’s mom, a sweet old church lady, started mainlining Fox News and turned into an angry, bitter crank. Behind her back, we blocked Fox News on her TV and told her the cable company dropped it.
Yep, we lied to the old lady and treated her as if she had no agency. It was disrespectful, but I’d do it again tomorrow because she lived out the rest of her days as the conservative, judgey religious fanatic she’d always been minus the Fox-infused anger and paranoia.
I wish the hellfire my grandmother believed in existed so Rupert Murdoch could roast in it for all eternity.
I call what the guy in KC has “Nextdoor brain”, although I probably saw that somewhere (maybe here even). Being constantly immersed in content that tells you that anyone you don’t recognize is automatically a criminal intent on hurting you or stealing from you causes people to be on a hair-trigger, ready to defend themselves at any minute from “those people”.
You can add the two cheerleaders shot for mistaking their car for someone else’s, and today there were 3 people shot including a 6 year old when a basketball rolled into someone’s yard. We have made the penalty for the most mundane of errors death by gunfire. An armed society is not a polite society, it’s a bloody and dangerous one.
They already stop the vast majority of it, and with relative ease, and barring some sea change in the American electorate, that will continue to be the case. We’re not going to go from (mixed success) incremental efforts to “ban everything” in any case.
@Betty Cracker: We never let it get to be too much of a wedge, but Fox viewing habits was one of the reasons I’ve always been a bit guarded and distant with my dad’s girlfriend (Dad’s been gone 9 years now, so it’s not super important any more).
She knew we hated Fox and respectfully kept it off whenever any of us from dad’s side of the family visited. She is otherwise a gracious person, and seemed to have less than zero problem with me being gay, and likes my partner.
But that sh*t is toxic. When dad slid into early dementia, he’d call my brother in a panic like once a week for a while, ranting about some Fox inanity or other. It’s fu*ing cruel to do that to people who are loosing attachment to reality.
My wife just got back from a three week trip to Australia and one thing that hit her hard is the collective trauma Americans face every day that relates to gun violence – even when we are not direct victims. She remarked how it was noticeably, completely absent in that country and how oppressive it feels here in comparison.
Out here in CA, I was a delegate to the CA state Democratic Party, not a very important position but you have to be elected to it. I was elected precisely because nobody from my district in Orange County even wanted to do it. When Mango Mussolini appeared everybody wanted to be a delegate and I bowed out.
Anyway, I had the pleasure of watching Kamala Harris go from DA to AG to Senator to MVP. I heard her speak a few times from about 5 feet away. My endorsement was 1/1,100 of the reason she went on to the US Senate.
She was furious and passionate about gun violence. She said if she ever got the chance she wanted to pass a law that required all legislators who considered gun laws be required to examine crime scene photos of gun violence before they made a decision. Just like she had to do when she made a decision as DA and as AG. Sound policy.
Although I fear she will never be President someday, because sexism and racism will take precedence over competence and experience.
@Sean: This Pew study of Gen Z, while now a tad dated at 2020, suggest the sea change that could arrive (and why the GOP is working like crazy to disenfranchise them or at least make voting as hard as possible for the youngs).
Gen Zs have a 70-29 favorable view of using gov’t to “change things for the better”, vs. 53-45 for my cohort (X) and decaying further for older folk.
And it sure seems Gen Z is turning out for abortion and other issues they are passionate about. they grew up with active shooter drills and daily death tolls. I’m not sure they’ll tolerate that as parents, but who fast they can effect change against entrenched Repubs is the question, innit.
What most people really mean when they say “an armed society is a polite society” is that weapons are intended to keep uppity people in line. I think that’s a huge part of what’s driving the paranoia behind these kinds of shootings. Maybe the people who are being shot aren’t always uppity minorities, but it’s fear of White men losing their dominant place in society that’s driving the fear.
I would also say that politeness doesn’t require threats. A genuinely polite person will be polite regardless. I don’t know what the exact right term is for people who are outwardly courteous to others because they fear being murdered, but it isn’t polite. People who demand courtesy at gunpoint are definitely not polite in any sense.
Reminds me of people who (say they) are good only because they fear going to hell.
Conservatives have crossed a line. They openly admit that they will accept a certain number of deaths by a mass shooter. And shooters know this. It is now just a question of how many shots they can take before authorities arrive and take them down.
Conservatives don’t have a problem with this. They will babble about hardening buildings and police training. They will encourage teachers and other volunteers to be armed.
But they are okay with deaths and casualties.
@Sean: A surprising numbers of folks on the left noticed that the Australians, in response to the horrific Port Arthur mass shooting, actually did the “Ban everything” route. The whole country did a mandatory buy-back program for anything semi-auto and absolutely all military-grade weapons. The rural right howled and screamed about it like they always do, and they were thoroughly crushed.
What they don’t realize is that it worked because a) Australia is one of the most urban countries in the world, and b) they have a parlimentary democracy with mandatory voting. The rural screamers couldn’t do shit about it. They had neither the numbers or the power.
Our country is set up so the rural screamers now control 2/3rds of the country and 2 of our 3 branches of federal government. Until the power of the rednecks is somehow neutralized, we will never see sensible gun control in this country again. Welcome to Beruit.
Wasn’t a pregnant woman recently shot at a store for suspicion of shoplifting? It’s horrifying. Not only are there just too many fucking guns and not enough regulation, but the constant fear mongering, and click baiting, and nasty rhetoric is creating a baseline of stress, fear, paranoia, grievance, and rage. We cannot go on like this.
We had a mass shooting on Tuesday here in Maine. My mom was on the same highway when it happened and she was terrified. It’s school vacation week and my coworker’s high school age daughter was just behind the car that was shot at. The randomness of it is unsettling. The fact that this guy with such an extensive criminal record was running around with a gun shooting and killing people is unacceptable. Background checks may have prevented this. Red/yellow flag laws may have prevented this.
We have asinine gun laws in this state and I don’t think there is much appetite to change them. I hate this.
Meanwhile in Florida…
I wish DeSantis cared more about preventing unnecessary deaths than enabling the senseless killing of others and then punishing them after they’ve taken lives.
I just read that article, and it is wrenching.
The problem, as usual: the R. party, including the hacks with which they stacked the courts, and their propaganda arm Fake Noise.
potentially useful in the Herculean lift for “second amendment absolutists” and “second amendment originalists” to educate the public that that a “well regulated militia” must be well regulated, and emphasizing that article 1 section 8 clause 16 gives Congress the power of “organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia.”
Can the DoD use the discovery from the Dominion suit as the basis for banning Fox on military bases? Is there’s a legislative fix for cable customers who don’t want Fox having to pay for it?
Often appropriately been mentioned here that we need to draw contrasts between state level red and blue. An excellent example today from Digby’s place:
In his State of the State Address Wednesday night, Gov. Tim Waltz (DFL) contrasts Minnesota with red states. “It’s not up to me how folks in those places, folks like Florida, go about their business. But I got to tell you, I’m pretty glad we do it our way here and not that way,” Walz said. “If you need any examples to maybe change your mind on this one. They’re banning books in their schools. We’re banishing hunger from ours.”
The Moar You Know
I have long been of the opinion that the footage/photos of these shooting scenes should absolutely be broadcast on the networks, published in the papers, all of it. Because the vast majority of us, myself included, have no idea how bad it really is.
I have some idea. I’d frankly prefer not to know, but I think we all need to.
Looks like Antifa is pestering Republicans, with DRONZE!
Mike in NC
We have a friend who lives on Lake Barcroft in Alexandria, VA. His now-deceased mother would routinely answer the front door while holding a handgun. A miracle nobody was ever shot.
@E.: My two granddaughters are in a small private Episcopal school. Each member of the family had the same fearful reaction when we heard about the private school shooting. We put them there when the pandemic started due to stringent policies about Covid. We never realized we had to worry about shootings. It’s so frightening for families.
Update: the guy who shot the 7-months-pregnant woman at a Walgreens in Nashville now no longer employed at Walgreens, but they’re not saying whether fired or discussing company policy
Betty, thank you for posting this. I have kept away from the NYT for the sake of my blood pressure but as a Connecticut native who went to HS just down the road from Newtown, now with a granddaughter ready to start public school this fall, this well researched and incredibly sensitive article brought me right back to pre-Christmas 2012. I started crying in graph 2 and never stopped, but finished it nonetheless. I don’t know what it will take to change the status quo, but at this point it is a life-or-death matter for our kids and our country.
Change NY to Kentucky and Kevin Monahan to Rand Paul, and you know why the neighbor did what he did. Everybody knows somebody whose spring is wound to the very edge of breaking. In 2023 America that person owns guns.
@Mike in NC: If you are that paranoid, why even answer the door? I don’t answer the door after dark, I am a female who lives alone, so I let my dog bark. That does the trick.
We’re up against the numerous guys in pickup trucks with big “2nd Amendment” decals in the back window. Who are being daily fed fear and paranoia via their NRA membership and Fox.
Mike in NC
Just read where Fat Bastard has come out with a new set of collectible trading cards priced at $99 each. Buy 47 of them and you will be invited to dine with the orange menace!
The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion
@Baud: There’s more than one support group, at least on Reddit. It’s called r/QAnonCasualties
@Mike in NC
(Bring Your Own Ketchup.)
Damn-that is all kinds of awesome! Good for our various Governors for speaking out like this.
@Mike in NC: They’re bitchin’, all of ’em!
At this point I believe Trump can be entertained with jingling your keys, like an infant. “Got your nose!”
You’re not wrong. A good start would be for the Biden White House to yank the Fox News press credentials and start treating the outlet like the vile propaganda outlet that it is.
@E.: My daughter and son-in-law are thinking seriously about switching my grand-daughter to a different preschool because the one they like better has a lot more security. Having been through 3 school lockdowns when my daughter was in grammar school, I totally get it
Several years before he died in 2014, I warned my father that if he started watching Fox news, his television would break. Said in a playful tone, so he may have thought I was joking. Not. Breaking contemporary high-internal-complexity electronic hardware with mysterious failures and glitches is straightforward.
Fortunately, he was a PBS news hour/read the NYTimes cover-to-cover every day sort of guy, an ex-Republican turned entirely from Republicans when Newt Gingrich kicked him and my mom out of Death Valley in a 1990s government shutdown. He would occasional simul-watch CNN and Fox at the gym while on a treadmill and comment on the wild differences in what is covered and how.
I’m somewhat hopeful that the three recent highly publicized shootings of teens who went to the wrong door/wrong car might move the needle a little. There is a real element of “there but for the grace of God goes my kid” about each of those tragedies. Any parent should be scared shitless.
@The Moar You Know: I’d go a step further. Whenever a shooting occurs in their districts, any pro gun legislators/RWNJ should be dragged to the scene and made to help clean up the mess and made to visit any of the survivors in the hospital. No more getting to pass laws that kill people and turning your back on the consequences.
@Mike in NC: ah, he must need to launder some more cash. Pretty obvious scam, TBH.
@delphinium: this here is an outstanding idea.
@Sean: Most if the “incremental” firearms safety laws passed by blue states are still standing.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
Rupert Murdoch is proof that only the good die young, middle aged, or even in their elder years. If there is a Satan, that man has clearly sold his soul.
From the Kansas City Star interview of the grandson:
I wish I could find it, but It was either you, Ms. Cracker, or Anne Laurie, who made this exact assumption / prediction about the shooter’s mindset the day after he did the deed. Some of these people marinate in that “us or them” sh*t all day.
The weekend after Trump lost the 2020 election, a few-houses-up-the-road neighbor, who had been seen flying the grey and white cop flag from their pickup truck, fired off what sounded like at least many hundreds, perhaps low thousands of rounds, presumably target practice of some sort. I stayed well inside in case some were being directed at my house.
This is semi-rural, some farms but with an actual urban hood 5 miles away.
Such people like their guns, a lot. Many of them would feel duty-bound to own illegal guns.
Suicides are worse than homicides when it comes to gun related deaths. And we know from *many* examples that making it just a little bit harder to kill yourself significantly reduces the number of suicide deaths. Things like putting certain kinds of pills into blister packs instead of bottles cut suicide rates by some absurd percentage in Canada iirc. Fixing gas stoves in Britain so you couldn’t easily kill yourself with them dropped suicide rates by a third.
Suicide is a heavily impulse driven state for people without severe and persistent chronic conditions, and that makes up the overwhelming majority of suicides. And when most people try to kill themselves and fail, they don’t try again.
Guns make it too easy to attempt and too easy to succeed.
There is no solution to the massive senseless loss of life other than a 2nd amendment repeal and a ban of all firearm ownership. If you want to go hunting, you can rent a gun and bring it back to a secure location.
It’s going to be fucking hard to do this, but we need to take it seriously. As seriously as the suffragists and abolitionists, who were willing to commit to a struggle they knew they wouldn’t see the end of. Half measures aren’t going to do to shit. This is going to be a generational struggle, but we need to set this as the marker for where we need to go or we won’t ever get there.
Would it be disrespectful to deny agency to a known drug addict with regards to easy access to heroin? Billions of dollars have been spent to develop the rage and paranoia drug that is RW media. PhD behavioral psychologists and top Madison Avenue advertising brains have been paid for decades to titrate just the right amount of the various constituents of the toxic brew. None of this is by accident and many individuals are simply more prone to the addiction (for whatever reason). I argue that there is actually some agency deficit — even if I’d probably dislike those people regardless of their viewing addiction.
@Bill Arnold: Cool, they can go to jail or commit suicide by cop. I don’t give a fuck about anyone liking guns anymore. It’s a public health menace and a huge abridgement of the civil rights of the rest of us.
We (county lawyers) had a presentation by a public health nurse probably a decade ago on how older people with dementia and weapons are a threat to their caregivers. They had two “close calls” where the resident did not recognize the caregiver at the door and threatened to shoot them, so this has been understood for a while now. Our county health nurse is white and she mentioned that both of the threatened caregivers – home health aides- were Latino so she thinks it’s a factor.
Take the guns away from your elderly parents if you’re relying on home health aides. It’s really the least one can do. Don’t get them killed.
Although we can’t reach the NRA hard core, my point at 23 above was because there are lots of people we can reach who mistakenly think the second amendment bars regulations.
i’ve posted before this awesome Adrian Fontes clip (former Marine marksmanship instructor and currently AZ Secretary of State) that should be more widely circulated
Also, don’t think most people want to side with Mexican drug cartels rather than gun control.
The Mexican government sued US gun manufacturers; a Republican judge dismissed the lawsuit, last month the Mexican government appealed the dismissal
more info, from earlier
If you’re really paranoid, not answering the door isn’t a solution, either. It will tell the person knocking there’s nobody home, so it’s safe to break in and ransack the place. That’s bad if you really are home, because then you’ll have armed thieves in you house. You’re much better off letting them know you’re home and armed to scare them off.
The sections of the article about cleaning jewelry and notes in lunch boxes broke my heart. Alex Jones, eyes propped open, Clockwork Orange-style, should be forced to look at every single one of those 1,495 photos and all the videos.
@Roger Moore: Since guns only give you an advantage if you’re the one that fires first, you’re better off just shooting whoever it is before they have a chance to respond.
Things will change when enough gun owners who consider themselves responsible become more outraged at mass shootings and the armed lunatics and rageaholics ready to commit them than they are at our outrage at same. It doesn’t even have to be a majority of gun owners–just enough to help us outvote the gun humpers. One day, maybe. No idea when.
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
Andrew Breitbart was not good.
Just sayin’. //
I wouldn’t wish them on the survivors unless the survivors were willing, though.
Tennessee not done in the spotlight:
via political wire
from the linked article:
Years ago, while visiting friends in Canada, I told them that they should plan a visit to the States. They said, “Oh, no! I’m afraid we’d get shot!” And I assured them that no, it isn’t like that! But now I can’t say that. My adult son narrowly missed a mass shooting in his neighborhood, arriving in the historic district a few minutes after the police killed the shooter, who had killed nine people, including his own sister. My son was fine, shooed away from the scene by police, but he could see the carnage. It was 2019, but it feels like yesterday.
So, will it take the country having everyone somehow connected to a shooting or gun violence? We’re already seeing victims of different shootings being caught in yet another one. I never expected our city to join the list of others, never expected that horror in my own backyard.
I don’t have a solution. I believe that until we stop selling assault style rifles and we reinforce and completely adhere to the gun laws that exist we’ll see more cities joining the awful list. And many more innocent people who just were in the wrong place at the wrong time will continue to die for a simple mistake.
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:
It is rumored that Mr. R. Murdoch has long indulged in blood-from-the-young sorts of techniques. (Which go back to the 50s/60s in the medical underground. It is said.)
My wife has always said, get every legislator, local state and federal, to the scenes of the shootings and have them do the clean up. Most of the macho right wingers, like Cruz, would be throwing up as soon as they walk in the room. I would love for there to be a hearing and have the actual, full color, enlarged photos shown.
The gun fetish in this country didn’t start in the 70s or 80s. It really started earlier when westerns came into every room on television, and the idea of the wild west came into being. The solution to every problem was a gun. But that was a myth. Most towns required you to hand over your firearms when you came into town. There just weren’t that many shootouts. Yes, there were some, but not like it is portrayed.
Now, the concept of a gun is the answer to everything, every perceived slur, hurt, mistreatment, threat or other hurt has taken over in this country. And look, if a cop(s) can shoot someone to death just because they think a person is a threat, than why can’t anybody else?
There has to be a persuasive, and probably long campaign, like there was against drunk driving and smoking, to make an impact. And there have to be consequences for reckless behaviors. It wasn’t until people started paying a big price for drunk driving that the incidents of it went down.
I’ll be turning 76 in 2 months. I doubt I’ll see a positive outcome of such a campaign in my lifetime, but I hope my grandchildren see one.
@E.: That’s not an irrational anxiety. I looked at security when evaluating a daycare center for my daughter. We had a shooting in the parking lot at the Jewish Community Center here in Kansas City a few years ago. They hardened security then. I picked up my grandson at the daycare every day for a couple of years, and every day as I walked through that parking lot I thought of it. I passed the security van parked out front, badged myself through the electronic locks, passed the security desk and went to the classroom. On the way out the armed security guard greeted my grandson by name, and Alex cheerfully greeted him back. I loved the daycare, and hated that armed security was normal to a 4 year old.
@Geminid: Which unfortunately helped not at all here in Connecticut, when Adam Lanza took his mother’s gun safe keys, unlocked her guns, killed his mother and then went to Sandy Hook and killed 6 adults and 20 little kids there. The guns he used were obtained legally as far as I know.
Next up: Guilty verdict with an 8-4 vote + death penalty if even one juror calls for it?
Not quite right. The problem, as usual, is the American electorate. Without our ignorant, racist, and stupid electorate the Republican Party would be an irritant, not a national disaster.
It is the people who elect Republicans that are the real problem. That isn’t limited to Republican voters since what often puts the Republicans in office are the votes of so-called Independents, who are even less well-informed that Republicans. (The problem with Republicans isn’t that they don’t know anything, it’s that what they know is almost universally untrue. They may be engaged, but are paying attention to all the wrong sources.) Independents, who are so stupid that many can’t see any difference between the two parties, are likely to be both uninformed and ill-informed.
Sadly, the electorate is moving in the wrong direction. Millions of people don’t bother to vote and if they did, their votes would be potentially very dangerous because they wouldn’t be willing to spend the required time to be become well-enough informed to vote responsibly. It remains to be seen if young voters will turn out for elections and issues that aren’t as personally important to them as abortion or, perhaps, the environment, which never seems to be one of the key issues in general elections.
Historically, as voters get older, they become more selfish.
The local NBC affiliate in Portland just spent an inordinate amount of time reporting on the so-called Greater Idaho Movement, which is ostensibly mounted to allow rural counties in Eastern Oregon to leave Oregon and join Idaho. Yeah, it’s every bit as childish as you’re thinking.
One of the places the reporter visited was Grant County. While the folks who were interviewed couldn’t specify precisely why they were so mad at the liberals west of the Cascades (probably because they didn’t want to be recorded saying Black people or gay people), they were really mad about a recently-passed state-wide ballot initiative that imposed some mild regulations on firearms. The initiative didn’t pass in Grant County because more than 5,700 people voted against it, running up a huge majority (90% maybe?).
One woman wasn’t going to comply with no city slicker initiative, and said it would be an unbearable hardship for her to be limited to only a 10-shot magazine (or clip, I don’t give a fuck). Why, how could she possibly defend her home from armed intruders with a paltry 10 shots? My immediate thought was, “Is that a major problem in a sparsely populated rural county? I live in Portland, which is burned to the ground every night by Antifa, and I can’t remember the last time I had to repel armed invaders with my trusty shootin’ arn. But this woman makes it sound like a semi-weekly event where she lives.”
But now I see that the less populated the setting, the more firepower a person needs to teach wayward outsiders a good lesson about getting lost.
The Post recently did an article that purported to show the damage that assault rifles do to children’s bodies. However, while they based the images on the wounds actually suffered by some shooting victims, they used what were, essentially, cartoons to depict the bodies. It had none of the impact that seeing actual bodies torn apart would have and I doubt it had any real effect on the attitudes of those who read the article and looked at the images. And there was no blood.
There is, of course, an issue of privacy and respect for the victim’s surviving kin. If permission could be granted by enough people, a random selection (unidentified?) could be used with faces blurred to protect the actual identity.
That would preclude showing young heads and faces torn apart and I don’t know if there would be a way to deal with that. I doubt if Ted Cruz’s mind would be changed no matter what he saw, so the important audience would be the electorate. Voters have to be convinced to stop electing murderous monsters.
Faux news is one of the major issues of our time. The way it’s presented, the way the “news” readers present themselves, the slant every word spoken on screen has, every single part of it is more psychological fuckery than every other station combined. And it seems that this is the way that many seniors think it should be presented. As a geezer myownself I recognize that many of my fellow seniors, being from extremely different generations than most anyone 20 yrs or more our junior like the “professional” way that bull and shit is presented by faux news. Plus it’s everyfuckingwhere. Most any place you walk into with a TV on will have faux news on at least one set. You just get exposed to it even against your will. Old man murdoch is fucking evil personified.
He’s presenting reprograming as news. And every single possible visual/auditory clue is there that “This Important Crap Is For Your Own Good, (and rupert’s bank account of course) He’s the epitome of pay me, I’ll tell you how to feel about this world and how fucking bad it is. And really the worst thing about this world is rupert.
@Roger Moore: Oh. Not my train of thought.
These same neighbors, or maybe their neighbors, called the cops on me once for walking with a hood at night. (White face, but they probably didn’t see it.) Two patrol cars with 4 cops showed up, with searchlights and all. Managed to get within 30 feet of my mailbox before they spotted me, and when they asked where I lived, showed them the address on my ID/license and the matching 6 inch reflective street number on the mailbox, and white face, and they were instantly apologetic.
The caller had searched the neighborhood slowly in his car for 5 or 10 minutes (after first driving by/home 5 minutes earlier), and I had kept out of sight because [it strongly felt like] he had a gun. (I triggered their danger sense, TBH.)
@EmbraceYourInnerCrone: You can’t buy those guns legally in Connecticut now. I believe there is a ban on possession as well.
The law Virginia passed in 2021, that makes it a crime to have an unsecured firearm in a home where minors are present, will be violated and and children and adults will be injured because of those violations. I think that was the case with the Newport News teacher shot by a student a couple months ago.
That law will still save lives, though. This is the case with all these “incremental” gun laws passed by blue states. I know others may not see it this way, but to me the argument that incremental laws are not worth passing because we really need to ban guns entirely is in practical terms equivalent to hoisting the white flag on this issue.
But my comment was directed at the notion that Republicans stop these laws from passing now. That is not the case. And almost all of those passed are still on the books.
@Geminid: They’re worth passing, and we should pass everything we can, but they’re also not a solution. We will only make marginal improvements without a 2nd amendment repeal, or at least a reinterpretation of it that limits ownership rights to militias with strong regulations around what counts as a militia, and not individuals.
Marginal improvements are better than nothing, but we shouldn’t settle for that either.
@Eolirin: It’s an important point. Once the trigger is pulled there’s no time for “Oh, do I really want this?” before the head explodes.
Have heard interviews with Golden Gate Bridge jump survivors who decided they wanted to live, between jumping and hitting the water. One wonders how common it is, given most don’t survive.
@trollhattan: It’s extremely common for survivors, at least those who aren’t suffering from chronic mental or physical health issues, and most of the people who make the attempt aren’t, to never try again.
So I’d wager pretty damn common.
@Geminid: I’m not trashing the incremental laws. Any steps in the right direction are positive steps. My point is that success or no, it is the only path forward given the current realities.
It’s a public health menace and a huge abridgement of the civil rights of the rest of us.
Thing is the protection side is not invalid, what with all the guns and morons shooting them out there. HOWFUCKINGEVER I’ve never seen any statement about seeing that it’s not your child, significant other, a child ringing the wrong doorbell, etc before firing. The premise is the gun comes before every other issue/question/reality. The gun keeps you safe. What the hell about the safety of the person on the other end if you are wrong and they aren’t there to shoot you? Cops are trained not to do this and they fuck up on occasion. Joe Blow with 3-4 beers under his belt is far more likely to fuck up every single time. Add in a clip and semi auto fire and dead is most often the outcome.
@Eolirin: Incremental laws are partial solutions. And we can pass more now, which beats waiting for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment.
As for reinterpreting the Heller finding that individuals have a right to own firearms independent of membership in the miltia, that might happen but not in this decade and probably the next one either. But there was another important component of Heller besides the recognition of Heller’s individual right to possess a firearm. That was the affirmation of governments’ rights to reasonably regulate firearms. This is why numerous gun safety laws, including Connecticut’s assault weapons ban, are still standing.
I mention this because a lot of people know about the first part and not the second.
@Ruckus: We are learning from the Jayland Walker case that our cops now have semi-automatics, so 17 rounds fired in a matter of seconds.
All I want is the sea change. I hope the Gen Z’ers and beyond affect real change. I’m in the same cohort as you (X) and living in Texas my whole life has worn my general optimism down to the ground. After this leg. session we won’t even be able to pass local ordinances without the state repealing them. We’ve already had multiple referendums overridden here, and now that’s going to be the norm. Hard to feel a sea change coming.
I know it’s probably the end of the thread, but a couple of thoughts. I lived for most of my adult lives in a blue university town in a red state. I have three kids. My oldest had one of his little league teammates shot to death in an accident, when a friend of his pulled a gun out of a closet, pointed it and pulled the trigger. My daughter (My youngest) lost one of her adult friends when she was shot to death by her ex. She also had a friend from High School die by gunfire in a suicide-by-cop. One of the local DA’s in town lost his kid when she committed suicide with a gun that was in the house. I know that cars and swimming pools are supposed to be the causes of accidental death for kids, but from where I am sitting, guns are by far the most dangerous parts of our lives.
Second thought–I doesn’t have to be like this. On a visit with my wife to the home of a relative in Australia, we ended up with a dinner that included a couple of docs who had been emergency room doctors. I asked them, for the hell of it, how many individuals wounded by gunfire they treated in any given month or so. Neither of them remembered treating gunshot wounds, EVER, although one remembered an incident once at the hospital where he was working.
The current SCOTUS majority is well aware of the “second part” and are free to jettison it as well. Heller was a complete rewriting of our attitude toward the 2nd Amendment. There is nothing preventing the SCOTUS radicals from re-writing Heller eliminating entirely the ability of any governmental entity to regulate firearms.
Scalia’s cute little addendum (you can still regulate firearms) reminds me of Alito’s language in Dobbs that their decision had no bearing on other issues like birth control. And Thomas, the craziest of them all immediately disagreed.
Just because Thomas is the craziest nut job on the Court today doesn’t mean he will continue to be. And other justices, didn’t explicitly swear off restrictions on birth control. So, stay tuned…the “best” may be yet to come.
@Geminid: It’s not a partial solution, it’s harm reduction. There’s a difference.
Just like only getting 40% of your population to take vaccines is not a solution to infectious disease spread, because if you can’t get to herd immunity, you don’t stop transmission enough to keep high risk populations safe, even if getting to 40% lowers mortality rates vs 0%.
We’ll never get the numbers low enough with what we can pass to make it so that the fundamental dislocations to our society that gun violence is causing go away. We’ll just save lives. That’s very much worth doing, but it doesn’t fix anything about the actual problem gun violence is creating.
Rs win disproportionately to their votes because of
the Electoral College,
the malapportioned Senate (plus the filibuster) and
packed courts with R hacks.
It requires very little research to vote:
to go forward D, to go backwards R.
We have to do what we can to
reach out to the persuadable,
mobilize supporters to vote (e.g., postcards!),
act strategically to maximize success on the electoral field tilted against us (supporting downballot candidates in super swing districts!)
Postcard thread coming soon!
@Sean: It is genuinely difficult. And FTR I fled Texas for the upper midwest in 1995. When Shrub was governor, and they passed concealed-carry. As a gay man, I was even then worried some drunk yahoo would come down the dark dead end alley that was the location of my fave gay bar, and just blammo wipe several of us out.
Anyway. Not to dwell on that. Hopelessness and inevitability are things the authoritarians count on. Me cheerleading from afar is admittedly not worth a lot, but even up here, I have to work to stay optimistic that we can turn the tide on the very craptastic WI GOP. Active hope, as Joanna Macy says.
@TriassicSands: I do not think Scalia intended that passage as a “cute little addendum,” and that is not how most courts have taken it.
You are not telling me anything I don’t know when you say this Supreme Court can do away with that part entirely. I am sceptical that there are 5 votes for that, though.
And yes, I am staying tuned.
I want Alex Jones and everyone who lobbies for, works for or belongs to the NRA to be strapped in like Alex in A Clockwork Orange undergoing the Ludovico technique and forced to view those photos over and over and over and over until the day they die. I just can’t with this.
The carnage will end when GOP voters can be bothered to (nope, not vote for a Dem, they’d NEVER do that) pick up the phone or fire up their email and let their GOP reps know that on this one issue, just this one issue, they want them to get with the program and start saving American lives.
Because GOP reps are way out of step with majorities of their own party on this.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m more than fine with defeating Rs at the ballot box and if the gun issue causes Rs to cross over and vote for our guys and gals, great. But we don’t have to beat them – we just need GOP voters to give enough of a shit to fire off an email or make a phone call.
@BlueGuitarist: He has resigned.
This was EXACTLY my thought!
(And that magnificent piece of writing sure as fuck better win a Pulitzer in this year’s Prizegiving. Wow.)
It’s been mentioned before, but one of a pair of tools to use is to pressure cable companies to remove Fox News from their basic cable package and seriously reduce that monthly revenue stream for Rupert Murdoch as well as diminish the wide distribution of that channel.
Make Fox News a premium service (like ESPN) that subscribers must make a conscious choice to add as well as pay extra for.
Second (as mentioned above) Fox has demonstrated that it is NOT a legitimate news organization (based on depositions taken prior to the Dominion Voting case). Time to yank Fox press credentials for the White House, military and federal agencies on the grounds that they are “fake news” propaganda operation.
Very much off-topic, but I haven’t seen your nym recently and have wondered how you are and if you’re still making those gorgeous hooked rugs. It’s good to see you commenting.
I don’t think Scalia was being “cute” either, that’s just how it reads in the context of the whackos running things now. Scalia considered Thomas to be crazy, but that doesn’t prevent Thomas from joining with other crazies (Alito, Barrett, and Gorsuch) in pushing the law further and further into Wonderland. The question now is can they get Kavanaugh or Roberts (or both) to join them. In the future, after 2025, things could get even worse if there is another change in Court membership.
Probably not…today. But a R win in the 2024 presidential race and the likely, if not guaranteed, Republican control of the Senate, means that in 2025 that could change. The Federalist Society isn’t going away (and i don’t think you think it is) and future SCOTUS nominees could make past ones look like moderates. Who knows, the Republicans could even decide to expand the number of justices in order to guarantee success in pushing this country ever deeper into fascism.
Scalia may well have been sincere about the regulation of firearms, but his decision was a complete break with history and a dishonest rewriting of both history and interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. He opened the door and deserves no credit for adding wording that can easily be ignored.
As a result, today, the widespread feeling about the 2nd Amendment, frequently noted by the Right, is that unlike the First Amendment, the Second is absolute and can and may not be infringed (they ignore the militia part, as did Scalia, and dwell on “shall not be infringed.” Scalia is the villain who has made our present carnage even worse that it was pre-Heller. The gutting of the VRA began with Shelby County v Holder in 2013. Roberts’ decision was similar to Heller. It tore out the foundation and set the stage for future decisions (which have, in fact, happened) to raze the right to vote to the ground.
The list of candidates for worst SCOTUS decisions ever is growing with each new term, but Heller, Citizens United, and Shelby County v. Holder among others will, if this country remains a democracy in any meaningful way, remain in contention for places of honor high on that list.
Yes, this is how they spin it.
Dems would be wise to go with ” ‘well-regulated militia’ + ‘shall not be infringed’ = hmmm, since they kind of cancel each other out and since it’s fucking 2023, we get to do whatever makes sense in our modern society.” Lather, rinse, repeat.
Or just go with ” ‘shall not be infringed’ doesn’t cancel out ‘the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ “
@TriassicSands: The view that the Second Amendment is absolute and cannot and may not be infringed may be widely shared by rightwingers, but a majority of people in this country do not believe it. Polling repeatedly shows this.
The solutions are right there in front of us: once we make private ownership of assault-style weapons illegal, we treat gun ownership in the same way we do with car ownership. Required education, training, testing, licensing, registration, liability coverage and penalties for misuse. The Gun Humpers will scream and wail, but the goal should be to make gun ownership as banal and rote as owning a car. Reasonable gun owners would agree… the others – not so much.
@Eolirin: To be clearer about this point, taking steps that successfully reduce gun deaths, but that fail to lower it below a threshold where gun deaths are no longer one of the leading causes of death for kids, or a common suicide method, is not an actual solution to the perpetual threat of gun death, nor is it a solution to the suicide risks involved in gun ownership.
None of the blue state laws successfully address either of these issues; so as long as our kids still need to have active shooter drills, and as long as parents have to make decisions about private schools on the basis of how prison like their security is, we haven’t resolved anything about this issue, we’ve just limited how many people are dying to it.
And that’s worth pursuing. I’m in no way suggesting we don’t pass the “incremental” laws. But it’ll never be enough to just do that, and we won’t get to something like a second amendment repeal or even an undoing of Heller unless people are actively pushing for those things to happen, so we can’t just settle for getting some blue states to make things a little less bad. If it’s going to take decades, we need to continue to make noise for as long as it takes before we can succeed, and we need to continue to advocate for actual solutions, even as we take a harm reduction strategy to laws, which requires no more goddamn guns.
If we don’t make the maximalist position our goal we’ll never get there. And even if fewer kids are getting gunned down, kids will still be getting gunned down. We shouldn’t accept that outcome at all.
@Oblio: Doesn’t help reduce suicides enough. Isn’t a proper solution.
Won’t stop suicide by cop handgun mass shootings either. Fewer people will die, which is great, but again, not a solution.
john (not mccain)
Nothing is going to change until enough republicans have to bury their own children.
Unfortunately, the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” appear in the Declaration of independence, not the Constitution and can be completely ignored by the Supreme Court.
After all, they already ignore the Preamble to the Constitution itself:
Justice? Laughable. “The general welfare?” Socialism. “Secure the Blessings of Liberty?” Is that the right to shoot innocent people and the right of innocent people to be shot? It would seem so.
“…To ourselves and our Posterity…?” The Court is ensuring the government can’t do it’s best to prevent catastrophic climate change, so what meaning do those words have now?
the next american civil war will start on jan 20, 20x, the moment Kamala Harris places her hand on the bible to take the oath of office.
@Dopey-o: Let’s make sure we have the high ground when it all goes down.
@trollhattan: “Nothing new under the sun.” Read this archived WaPo article from February 1980 about a fatal incident that took place just a couple of miles from where I’d grown up not all that long before.
And just FTR, the next November Mr Welzant was tried for second-degree murder by a jury of his peers – and was acquitted on all counts by “a mostly middle-aged jury.”
In 2023 a lot more of them own guns, but some did two generations ago. And it only takes thirteen – one with the weapon and twelve others to acquit him because those goddamn kids, etc.
@SiubhanDuinne: Hi! And thank you! I’m still making hooked rugs and teaching hooking, too. I’m currently working on a tribute rug for a Native American woman who survived a Residential School and went on to become a leader in Indian Rights.
Thanks for asking! 🥰
Just on the local news a minute ago. There will be no charges filed against the shooter of a 19 year old Orchard Park man, who tried to get into the wrong car in Tampa, Florida last year. He ordered an Uber after a birthday party. The shooter’s identity is being shielded by the authorities in Florida and the family doesn’t even have access to all the information in the shooting according to their lawyer. The lawyer said he assumes the stand your ground defense would have been asserted.
This garbage just makes me sick along with all the other tragedies that have happened. Are you sitting in your car with a loaded gun in your hand? Wtf? Lock your door if you’re that scared. People have accidentally opened my car door in store parking lots and I was scared for a second and then started laughing. I’ve accidentally started to open other people’s doors too, so many cars look alike.
Is this really ok with people in this country? Everyone ready kill someone else at a moment’s notice because they’re suicidal, pissed off at the world or scared of their own shadow?
I don’t know what will change things I hate the second amendment and people’s love affair with guns.
This is the America that a majority of white people want. They’d rather burn it all down than share it with those they deem as the other.
Yep, the part about gathering up 20 lunchboxes broke me. I kept reading, but… damn.
Argue on a due process basis. Guns deprive us of a due process right to life.
@Tazj: Damn. I remember reading about that case in The Tampa Bay Times and was hoping that poor kid’s family would get some justice. But of course the law protects the pants-pissing coward who shot first and asked questions never.
@Rusty: I have several times mistaken someone else’s car for mine. At night under certain kinds of streetlights the colors shift and some models do look similar.
And twice, once at night and once in broad daylight, the car was the same make/model, just parked a few spaces over from mine.
And both times my key opened the door! The one in the daytime I didn’t realize my mistake until I actually got in and started the car.
If any of these owners saw me and were fox news/am hate-radio gun nuts I might’ve been shot.
Absolutely, but someone has to be listening. There are countless avenues to use to attack the current state of affairs, but even airtight arguments don’t have an audience on either the Supreme Court or among many Republican appointed judges. That is why changing the number of justices or ending the filibuster is the only way to save lives now or in the near future. And we know how likely either of those is to happen.
We can’t give up, but neither can we realistically expect positive change. Negative change? That’s a different matter. As another commenter wrote, I’m not likely to live to see this turned around.
Again, I agree. Now, if only there were a way for the will of the people to be expressed in legislation.
@donnah: That sounds lovely! Are you far enough along to be belt share photos?
@TriassicSands: The way is elections. That’s what led to the gun safety laws passed in my state and others like Washington
The more far reaching measures you and others propose have no other way to be effected either.
@Geminid: Yeah, and to note, I’m clear eyed about how long this is going to take. I’m not that old and I put even odds on not living to see it. But it has to happen if we’re ever going to be a sane country.
Read a little more carefully. As I said, we can’t expect positive change. This could happen with changes in Senate rules that make sense, but aren’t going to happen any time soon, if ever. But, that isn’t impossible.
I didn’t “propose” anything, as in saying we should just do this, because I have no illusions that we will necessarily succeed no matter what we do. Failure to understand that will handicap us.
Elections are a possible route, but they depend on an electorate that we have no more reason to be confident will do the right thing than we can meaningful action from the Senate (the House is temporarily lost).
Far fewer than half the states are like Washington, where I live and vote. On the other hand, elections could change the make-up in the Senate, making the short-cuts possible. But that is almost certainly not going to happen in 2024, when Democrats will struggle to simply hold a majority (but more likely will lose it). The likelihood of failure has no impact on how hard I am willing to try.
People can become outraged by an issue — like mass shootings — but when it comes to elections they will still vote to elect Republicans for a variety of reasons. Some are lifelong, poorly informed Republicans who have little to no idea what their party has become. Voting is reflexive. Others vote based on other issues, in part because denial is such a powerful force that they still pretend mass shootings can’t happen to them or their loved ones. Florida, recently a very purple state, suddenly turned bright red and gave one of the worst politicians in the country a landslide victory. We can’t give up, but neither should we limit our options. Elections, given all the tools Republicans have employed, no longer determine the popular will in more and more states. I’d love to be more optimistic, but I prefer being realistic.
Currently, there is no strategy in place to improve the quality of our electorate. In fact, the trend is in the opposite direction. This could be a place where wealthy Democrats could help, since there will never be a national program as long as Republicans control either house of Congress. It is vitally important for Democratic voters to be better informed than they are today.
Paul in KY
@ArchTeryx: Unfortunately, given the population discrepancy between US and Australia, it would take a mass shooting of approx 1,400 to be about equal to the Port Arthur massacre.